- Like Napoleon, a dazzling editing tour-de-force 10/6/1999 12:00:00 AM by mgmax
Contrary to what the English guy says (hey, the Brits are the bad guys in this movie, whaddaya expect), this is to my mind the most impressive work of Soviet silent cinema-- an epic with several dazzling sequences of rat-a-tat-tat editing that invite comparison with Gance's Napoleon, as well as a deliberate build to an explosive climax that, in its willingness to delay gratification until almost the breaking point, has the operatic grandeur of something like The Godfather. Highly recommended (in fact, highly recommended before you see less accessible works such as October or Potemkin).
- The "Lawrence of Arabia" of 1928. 12/7/2007 12:00:00 AM by Boba_Fett1138
Mongolia always had a certain appeal to me. If China and Russia were to have a baby, it would look like Mongolia. It's such an intriguing and beautiful looking place, with a nice and long culture, that we all yet know so little about. It always has served as a great backdrop for movies.
The movie also focuses a lot on the Mongalian cultures, which also definitely makes this one of the least propaganda filled Russian movies of its period. because most movies were financed- and needed to be approved by the Communist party, who would of course often were making certain demands. I don't know what was the story behind this movie but my guess is it was pretty much the same.
The backdrop and cultural themes within this movie make sure that it is a beautiful shot one to watch, with of course also some typical Russian fast editing, especially during the action sequences.
And the movie does have some good action in it, although the movie is not halve as epic or action filled as its title would suggest, though in the end the movie still starts to show some epic properties, although this is mostly serves a purpose for the movie its symbolism. The ending is by the way quite solid and a rather unforgettable one. In essence the movie for some reason more reminded me of "Lawrence of Arabia", that was also more political and well layered, with different themes and culture-clashes in it, just as this movie is. Also both stories show definitely some similarities. I especially loved the political games within this movie, toward the ending. "Potomok Chingis-Khana" has really got a solid story!
The movie was very well cast. All of the actors seemed to fill the roles right and strongly and had the right required looks for it, which was perhaps the most important aspect in '20's silent-movie casting.
A great watch, also for especially those who like Russian cinema from the '20's but were never fond of the Comministic aspects and themes in it.
- Well constructed, but about as subtle as a stripper at a Baptist wedding! 9/20/2012 12:00:00 AM by MartinHafer
"Storm Over Asia" is a well made film. As other reviewers have pointed out, the film expertly uses film editing to make a very modern style film for 1928. It is really artistic and worth seeing--though there are also some serious lulls in the film that could have been tightened up a bit. However, that being said, the film is very obvious propaganda by the new Soviet government--and it sure isn't subtle about it.
A Mongol goes to town to sell a very valuable silver fox skin to the evil capitalists. Naturally, being evil (and fat) capitalists, they cheat the simple Mongolian man BUT they have a surprise--he won't just stand there and accept this maltreatment. He attacks the bad white men and flees to the hills--and eventually becomes a member of the communist partisans in the Russian Revolution. At this point, the film seems to drop this plot and A LOT of footage of Mongolian Buddhists is shown--including their costumes, dances and the like. At first, it seems like a nice bit of footage about these people but eventually you realize that the film is meant to mock Buddhist beliefs about the reincarnated Lama. Then, the communist forces attack--trying to kill off the evil forces of counter-revolution and international capitalism. Well what about our Mongolian hero? Where does he come into all this? See the film and find out for yourself--and you'll probably be quite surprised where the film goes next.
From an artistic point of view, the film is pretty good. The ending is also quite rousing. But as propaganda, it's very heavy-handed and not nearly as convincing or realistic as the much more famous film, "Potemkin" (also called "Battleship Potemkin"). I do understand that the new Soviet government was attempting to legitimize itself and drum up support by this film, but it just seemed to take the wrong approach as it lacked subtlety. As another reviewer pointed out, the villains in this film are just caricatures.
By the way, IMDb lists the film at 82 minutes. The DVD I watched clocks in at 125 minutes!! Is IMDb wrong or are there multiple versions and I just saw a longer one?
- Dated propaganda piece 4/6/1999 12:00:00 AM by SMK-4
A somewhat unusual piece of propaganda cinema. Our hero is supposedly a direct descendant of Genghis Khan who earns his living as a fur trapper somewhere in Siberia. When on one day the local (and not quite so local) fur traders attempt to take advantage of him they get a reaction they did not bargain for.
This film has aged very badly. It wears the propaganda on its sleaves and its villains are much worse caricatures than in, say, Battleship Potemkin. This compromises the credibility of the film. Superficially, the film works in a similar way as modern one-man-against-the-organisation action movies, but it badly lacks any sense of their irony and style.
- Superb!! 1/29/2013 12:00:00 AM by tim-764-291856
I loved this movie - it takes a good silent film to keep me glued to the screen, many Silents have huge amounts of frenetic studio-bound talking heads, but of course we have to wait for the titles to see what has just been said.
Other reviewers have laid the premise of this one but as a Russian film lover and trying anything I come across (this DVD, just ￡3!!) and expecting propaganda and heavy symbolism, I had a tour de force of both Mongolian and Buddhist life, but far from being a National Geographic documentary, this had real passionate pizazz and incredible, often beautiful locations, with long-lost ancient rituals and occasions coming alive on the screen.
I think it unfair to criticise and thus mark down a film because of the style and way it was made, at the time - this is 1928, the film stock and prints has degraded and the technical aspects made for slightly sped-up and jaunty action, whilst almost all the huge casts would have been local amateurs.
However, what made it for me was the music - brilliantly (and I believe, the original choice overseen by the director just before his death, in the 50s) - the crisp stereo really prickling the senses and the variety - from strident symphonies to traditional music from the locations in the film, all perfectly matched to the action. So, when some of the strangest looking tube-like horns get blown by long bearded Mongolians, we get a strange sounding instrument, not an artificially contrived one. This might sound a minor point but for me, from the outset, it really put me in the mood and set me up for the duration.
So - whilst many of the rather turgid Silent dramas are rather hard work and there's a sense of relief when they finally end, this was pure pleasure all the way through. Put to one side any preconceived notions about communist regimes and heavy Soviet symbolism and enjoy this much lighter and enjoyable classic. (It IS critically considered a Classic, actually and not just my say so or opinion)